Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I've been listening to this bootleg of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers recorded last year and I started wondering, when Tom Petty get so wimpy? I don't mind his lovely acoustic numbers that he's recorded (so many of) in the past decade. Hey, "Free Fallin'" worked, so why not continue with that magic. But, come on, TP, your show is a freakin' yawn fest.

Sadly, I attribute this to one factor: Stan Lynch. Without the founding member of the band pounding away in the rhythm section, the band feels lifeless. Don't me wrong; I think Steve Ferrone is a hell of a drummer. I've always loved the stuff he did with Average White Band and Clapton, but the guy is too polished for the Heartbreakers I came to love.

The thing about Lynch is that he seemed to approach every show as if he were playing the songs for the first time, still trying to figure out where to place the fills. It had a rough quality to it that made Petty's music so appealing. With Lynch gone, the Heartbreakers seem to have about as much soul as, well... Eric Clapton's most recent stuff (don't get me started on EC). I'll be the first to admit that I don't think Max Weinberg has the chops he used to (playing behind Bruce, that is. His work on Conan's show is top notch), but at least he's not a human metronome. There's life back there, people!

Used to be, I'd defend my beloved acts to the hilt. But life is short and there's so much more music to discover. Perhaps this is why I have come to admire Robert Plant so much. He continually challenges himself musically and when things begin to get stale, he shakes things up with new blood. But Petty is so loyal (God bless him) and he'd never ask Ferrone to leave. Maybe Tom should make a collection of songs like "Down South" (from his latest) and begin to release simple, beautiful songs all of the time. Maybe the guy just doesn't have the rock in him anymore. Which would be sad because he used to kick ass on stage with the best of them.

Age mellows everyone, I guess.

Except, that is, Bruce. But you knew I'd say that, didn't you.


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